Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 187. Alice Springs

A close encounter with desert wildlife

Alice Springs Desert Park
Last night wasn't as cold as the night before, so I'm backing Bec in that the flannelet sheets are certainly working. After a few nights with cotton sheets out here in Central Australia, the flannelet's are definitely the go! We even managed to sleep in 'till 8am; I'm guessing its the cooler nights, warmer sheets, and late morning sunrise that's making this possible.

Barn Owl
Today we were off to visit the Alice Springs Desert Park; where in the space of just a few hours, we would discover many of the secrets of the Central Australian deserts.

We arrived just before the first show; where we witnessed 'free-flying birds of prey' in the nature amphitheatre, with the stunning MacDonnell Ranges as a natural backdrop. The show was a visual feast of winged wonders; made up with an assortment of birds found in the local area. Birds showcased included Spinifex Pigeons; Magpies; a Barn Owl;  Black Kites and Whistling Kites. We all found the show absolutely fantastic (the highlight for me was the Barn Owl); but Bec was a little disappointed that there wasn't a Wedge-Tailed Eagle.

Whistling Kite (or Forked-Tailed Kite)

Scarlett realising that people eat Widgety Grubs!
Unfortunately for all of us, there is a bit of a cold front going through this part of the country. With the fresh breeze blowing, it probably didn't even reach 15deg by 10am when the show began. We wished we were wearing something a little warmer!

Next we wandered over to the nocturnal house; where we had the opportunity to experience desert habitats as they are at night, seeing some of the animals near impossible to see in the wild. This would have to be one of the best state of the art nocturnal houses I have ever encountered. The internal layout was superb; and the selection of animals and habitat recreations very inspirational. If only I could make an enclosure like these for our own Diamond Pythons back home. We got up close and personal with Bilbies, Quolls, Ghost Bats; numerous reptile species, and a large number mammal species. Unfortunately the photo's didn't work out as there was no flash photography allowed. Due to the slow shudder speed, all the photo's turned out blurry as the animals didn't co-operate and kept moving all the time.

Thorny Devil in the Nocturnal House
The park consisted of three desert habitats; Desert Rivers, Sand Country and the Woodland habitat. Here we wandered the grounds and saw rare and endangered animals. The layout of the park allowed us to walk around at our own pace, Scarlett enjoyed all the aviaries the most. There were handouts provided indicating what species were in each, and Scarlett had to find ALL different bird species in each aviary before allowing us to move onto the next exhibit.

Scarlett and a Yellow Collared Miner Bird

All in all it was a great day. The best thing was it only cost us a total of $20, which I found to be a more than reasonable price to pay for a day out enjoying the wonders of the desert.

Sacred Kingfisher

Bec and Scarlett 'reading' an educational interactive book at an exhibit

We returned to the van and ended up sitting back and relaxing; while Scarlett enjoyed a new DVD she picked from in town. It was 'nice' to finish the day doing nothing again. This is the life!

Scarlett and a Spinifex Hopping Mouse (it's OK, as it's not real).
Bec's 'Volcano'
Sturt Desert Pea

Tonight we visited the Strawberry and Iceream Van that has a permanent site here at the caravan park. Bec chose a Volcano; which consisted of strawberries, cream, ice cream, yogurt, and 4 berry syrup. And I ended up with a dish consisting of pancakes, cream, ice cream, strawberries and 4 berry syrup. Scarlett didn't want anything, as the jumping pillow is located right next to the van; so she was off playing while Bec and I indulged! Mmmm....

PS: As per the two photo's above, Scarlett kissed a Burrowing Frog today 'hoping' that it would turn into a prince! The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo thought it was hilarious; so much so that it fell of its branch.

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